How To Tell If Frozen Shrimp Is Bad

Shrimp is one of my favorite ingredients to use because of its versatility. It’s convenient and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and fried rice to pasta dishes.  Those of us that live in land-locked states are left at the mercy of having to use frozen shrimp instead of fresh shrimp.

But how do you know if your frozen shrimp has gone bad? In this article, we’ll take a look at the signs to look out for when checking if your frozen shrimp is still safe to eat.

5 Ways to Check if Frozen Shrimp is Bad

1. Expiration Date

The first thing to check when assessing whether your frozen shrimp is still good is the expiration date. Most frozen shrimp packages come with a “best by” or “sell by” date.

Frozen shrimp with sell by date highlighted

Make sure to check the date before using the shrimp. If the shrimp is past the expiration date, it’s best to toss it out.

2. Smell

Another way to tell if your frozen shrimp has gone bad is to give it a sniff. If the shrimp has a strong, ammonia-like smell, it’s likely that it has spoiled. Fresh shrimp should have a light, briny scent. If the smell is overpowering or unpleasant, it’s best to throw it away.

3. Appearance

Frozen shrimp should be stored at a temperature of 0°F or below. If the shrimp has thawed and refrozen, it may have ice crystals on the surface or be stuck together.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the shrimp is bad, it can affect the texture and flavor. Additionally, if the shrimp has any black spots, it’s best to discard it, as this can be a sign of bacterial growth.

4. Texture

The texture of the shrimp is another important factor to consider. If the shrimp feels mushy or slimy to the touch, it’s best to throw it away.

Fresh shrimp should be firm and slightly springy. If the texture is off, this can tell you that your frozen shrimp is bad.

5. Taste

Finally, if you’re not squeamish and unsure whether your frozen shrimp is still good, you can taste a small piece. If the shrimp tastes off or has a strange aftertaste, it’s best to discard it. Fresh shrimp should have a sweet, slightly salty flavor.

Thawed shrimp held in hand

How to Store Frozen Shrimp

Proper storage is key to keeping your frozen shrimp fresh for as long as possible. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep frozen shrimp in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
  • Always follow the storage instructions on the package.
  • If you’re thawing the shrimp, do so in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.
  • Use thawed shrimp within 1-2 days.
  • If you’re not going to use the entire package, reseal it tightly and return it to the freezer as soon as possible.
Frozen shrimp thawing instructions

Our Final Thoughts

Frozen shrimp is a convenient and versatile ingredient, but it’s important to make sure that it’s still safe to eat. Always check the expiration date and give the shrimp a sniff to make sure it hasn’t spoiled.

Look out for any black spots or changes in texture, and taste a small piece if you’re unsure. By following these tips, you can make sure that your frozen shrimp is always fresh and safe to eat.

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